Origin of the cilium: novel approaches to examine a centriolar evolution hypothesis.

Mark C. Alliegro, Peter Satir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recently, a new hypothesis was proposed regarding the evolution of the cilium from an enveloped RNA virus (Satir et al., 2007, Cell Motil. Cytoskeleton 64, 906). The hypothesis predicts that there may be specific centriolar or basal body RNAs with sequences reminiscent of retroviruses, and/or that the nuclear genes for certain centriole-specific proteins would have viral origins. Four independent laboratories have reported the existence of centrosomal RNA (cnRNA). Methods for studying cnRNA are described. We analyzed evidence of relatedness of known full-length cnRNAs to extant viral molecules. Out of 14 cnRNAs studied, 12 have similarity to entries in viral databases, all but one of these with E-values of < or = 1e(-4). Some centrosomal, and possibly uniquely centriolar, proteins also have relatives in viral databases that meet the criteria accepted to indicate a relationship by descent. Nine general cytoskeleton proteins exhibited no significant similarity to viral proteins. The speculation that centrioles are invaders of RNA viral origin in the evolving eukaryotic cell is strengthened by these findings. 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalMethods in cell biology
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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